Inside the Programme
Q&A with Engineer and Entrepreneur Nyasha Mashanda
If you think back to your application, how have your MRF learnings intersected with your academic studies and your intended impact? My MRF learnings have helped me to improve the way I collaborate and engage with my peers. As a budding entrepreneur, one of the greatest lessons I derived was on how to approach problems. We often look at problems from the outside and rush to propose solutions without interacting with the people for whom we are trying to solve the problem. A better approach is to first interact with people to identify what they deem to be a possible solution. Once this is done, one can go on to improve on that solution and make the world a better place in the process. In addition, being an MR Scholar has encouraged me to look for more opportunities to give back to my community. I am working on implementing some ideas which include mentoring young adults.
How has being an MR Scholar changed how you see yourself and the world around you? Who were you when you first applied for the scholarship, and who are you now? I have reconsidered my definition of good leadership. I believed that leaders should be the problem solvers. This perspective is not always correct. Leaders should focus on creating platforms that allow dialogue between people. The MRF has also helped me to become more articulate when communicating with a bigger group of people, which I found difficult previously. The workshops gave me an opportunity to improve this skill as I shared my experience and ideas with numerous scholars.
What are three key takeaways from your year in residence that you will draw on in your leadership journey? Perseverance. I met many people from disadvantaged backgrounds who made it to the MRF through hard work and determination. We all have the potential to do great things; diligence is the activation energy that enables us to achieve our dreams. Secondly, the ability to listen when others are expressing opinions that are contrary to our core beliefs. Sometimes, it is much more important to pay attention rather than out speak your perceived opponent. In that way, we all learn something new. Lastly, I learnt the importance of forming meaningful relationships whilst pursuing my goals. Often we are tempted to sacrifice our relationships in the pursuit of greatness, but this is not a good idea as we will need people to celebrate with in the end.